The History Of SCOOP
Many poker players look to late spring to get their poker games in gear as the World Series of Poker approaches every June from Las Vegas, but one of the biggest warm-up series to the WSOP is the Spring Championship of Online Poker which brings together players from all over the world onto the PokerStars platform every May to compete for millions of dollars in prizes.
Looking to build on the momentum that the elusive WCOOP series offers players every fall, PokerStars looked to add a series to their tournament line-up and in 2009, launched SCOOP for the first time. Unlike WCOOP though, PokerStars offered SCOOP tournaments at three buy-in levels right away, and in the first series in 2009 held 66 tournaments in 22 events over 11 days that saw just under 200,000 entries battle for over $39 Million dollars. Most events played out start to finish with only the Main Event taking two days to complete. The series was a true test, offering everything from NL Hold’em to PLO, 5 Card Draw, HORSE, Triple Draw, Heads-Up, Mixed events, Razz, 7 Card Stud and an 8-game event, with all the champions receiving a Movado SCOOP Champion watch to match the prestige of winning a high-profile event, like the WSOP issuing bracelets to their champions.
2010 was a massive jump from 2009 that saw 38 events and 114 tournaments take place over a two-week span which saw over 460k entries, creating an overall prize pool of $63 Million. Buy-ins ranged in the low tournaments from $5.50 to $270, while the medium level saw buy-ins from $55 to $2600 and the high went from $530 all the way up to $25,500. Again, all variants and styles of poker were offered, giving players of all bankrolls a chance to participate.
Black Friday hit just before SCOOP 2011 was set to begin which led PokerStars to offer essentially the same schedule as 2010, and while there was a 14% drop in entries (461k to 404k), the prize pool sunk over 30% down to $43 Million. However, the dip was only one year as prize pools have either remained flat or gone up every year since until 2022.
SCOOP prize pools peaked in 2020 where 124 events and 372 tournaments were held, attracting 2.7 million entries for a prize pool of over $185 Million dollars. But, in 2021 SCOOP was pulled back, guaranteeing only $100 Million in 102 events, and again in 2022 where PokerStars only guaranteeing $75 Million in the over 300 tournaments held.
Unlike WCOOP, SCOOP has always used a three-tier event structure with buy-ins like their WCOOP counterparts: Low ($2.20 to $215), Medium ($22 to $2100) and High ($215 to $25,000) and these tournaments would generally run concurrently for each event. The multi-phase event with dozens of day 1’s made its debut in 2017 that offered three buy-ins at $2.20, $22 and $215.
Every popular variant of poker can be found among the 300+ tournaments played at the SCOOP. Texas Hold’em, Omaha, Seven Card Stud, HORSE, 8-game, and Badugi are among the variants offered with any number of players at the table. Most tournaments now are played over multiple days, with at least one multi-flight tournament offered, and the main events are generally three-day tournaments.
SCOOP Main Events
|Year||Low ME||Medium ME||High ME|
|2009||JannotLapin ($151k)||JC Alvarado ($502k)||j.thaddeus ($963k)|
|2010||Midjat ($191k)||Mr.M.M0ney ($443k)||toetagU ($1.162M)|
|2011||Fittungen ($181k)||Goldenboys ($400k)||Lrslzk ($504k*)|
|2012||John_tri80 ($198k)||Suarez_BG ($560k)||GripDsNuts ($798k)|
|2014||BodogAri ($187k)||LexaLucky666 ($635k)||Vandir4rek ($1.048M*)|
|2015||Mustapha Kanit ($1.3M)|
|2016||Mmleandro ($196k)||Educa-poker ($578k)||Raidalot ($1.46M)|
|2017||Madalin ($221k)||ROFLshove ($787k)||Epiphany77 ($1.1M*)|
|2018||Cashcide Linc ($267k)||Wildace_hun ($783k)||Tankanza ($1.13M)|
|2019||Jack Wastes ($315k)||Jakobgold ($688k)||Tankanza ($1.03M)|
|2020||Auercan ($371k)||HayashiJoao ($920k)||Alexgirs ($920k*)|
|2021||Cantaloupe91 ($376k)||Livinmydream1 (838k)||kZnh ($878k)|
|2022||GoianoVix ($259k)||Paythetable101 ($509k)||WElcomeInnferNO ($1.14M)|
2011 saw a five-way deal made; 2014 saw a three-way deal made; 2017 saw a heads-up deal made; 2020 saw a multi-way deal made.
Black Friday Impact
April 15th, 2011 still remains one of the most ominous days for the online poker world when the global player pool first started to shrink. The loss of poker players in the US severely hurt the industry initially and SCOOP was no exception. The 2011 series saw a drop in the total prize pool by over 30% with a significant drop in the number of entries. European players were the biggest beneficiaries with Germans taking 19 of the 114 tournaments, and British poker players next in line with 13 titles. Canadians only saw a marginal increase from 7 titles won in 2010 to 10 titles in 2011.
Over time, players adapted and started travelling out of the US to other countries like Canada and Mexico that saw a drastic jump in 2012 in tournaments won. Today, the growth of real money online poker and the number of people playing – and travelling – has led to 9-digit prize pools and hundreds of thousands of entries, essentially erasing the losses that 2011 brought onto the poker world.
Many well-known poker pros have made their mark at the SCOOP over the years. Viktor “Isildur1” Blom won two events in two days in the 2012 SCOOP for over $400k and followed it up the next year by winning the high Main Event. Shaun Deeb won 4 SCOOP titles in 2012, and Daniel Negreanu captured SCOOP glory for the first time in 2013. Jason Mercer ruled them all in 2015 winning three titles and the Player of the Series honor, and again had a trio of SCOOP trophies in 2016. Mike Leah of Canada also hit a trifecta of SCOOP titles in 2016 and followed that up in 2019 with multiple SCOOP titles to his trophy case. Austria’s “Tankanza” went back-to-back in the high main event in 2018 and 2019, collectively winning over $2 million. 2020 was the year of “blanconegro” as Connor Drinan had himself a series, winning 5 SCOOP titles.
PokerStars assembles a star-studded line-up to commentate their SCOOP final tables which happen on an almost daily basis. Broadcasting on both their YouTube and Twitch channels, James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton once again provide commentary and comedy along with well-known poker pros as they lead viewers through the final table, and eventually to crown a champion. Generally, they will focus on the High events on that day but depending on who has made final tables they will feature the medium events as well. For the 2022 SCOOP Main Event, James and Joe were joined by 2011 #1 Online Poker Player Griffin Benger and one of the most recognizable faces in the game Maria Ho.
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